Hydroxyurea and Sickle Cell

Posted: March 12, 2014 by sicklecellunite in Sickle Cell
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Not many people are familiar with this medicine as treatment for Sickle Cell.

Let me first explain the uses of the medicine:

Hydroxyurea is used to treat skin cancer (melanoma), a cancer of the white blood cells called chronic myelocytic leukemia (CML), and metastatic cancer (cancer that has spread) of the ovaries. This medicine may also be given together with radiation treatment for head and neck cancer (primary squamous cell cancer).

Hydroxyurea is also used in adult patients with sickle cell anemia to prevent painful episodes and reduce the need for blood transfusions. It works by making the red blood cells more flexible.


Although, Hydroxyurea was first synthesized in 1869 in Germany and became FDA approved in 1967 for the treatment of neoplastic diseases. It wasn’t until February 1998, hydroxyurea received a new indication, for the treatment of sickle cell disease. It is approved for use in reducing the frequency of painful crises and the need for blood transfusions in adult patients with recurrent moderate-to-severe painful crises (generally at least three during the preceding 12 months).

The efficacy of Hydroxyurea in the treatment of sickle cell disease is generally attributed to its ability to boost the levels of fetal hemoglobin. This lowers the concentration of Hb S within a cell resulting in less polymerization of the abnormal hemoglobin. However, the mechanisms by which it increases Hb F are unclear.

I’ve asked many carriers about the effects they’ve noticed in themselves or their children who are carries and I received different answers…….below




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